Please join us for a reception with Scott Nurkin on Tuesday, June 25, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, featuring Music on the Porch with Steph Stewart & the Boyfriends. Free and open to the public.
Art @ the Center – “North Carolina Musicians: Portraits from Pepper’s,” Paintings by Scott Nurkin
On view through the summer at the Love House & Hutchins Forum.
Scott Nurkin is a musician and artist from Charlotte, NC. He earned his BFA in painting and drawing from UNC and studied painting at the Lorenzo de’ Medici School in Florence, Italy. He currently runs Bona Fide Murals, a professional mural and sign company in Chatham County. His paintings of North Carolina musicians used to hang at Pepper’s Pizza on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, which closed in March 2013.
For this preview exhibition, the Center for the Study of the American South invited UNC scholars and writers to contribute reflective and contextualizing essays on the people featured in these portraits, including Charlie Daniels, Roberta Flack, Randy Travis, and Elizabeth Cotten. We hope these essays will inspire and provoke further conversation, exploration, and investigation of these performers, their music, and the rich traditions from which they come. These portraits are on display courtesy of the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Music, with special thanks to Mark Katz, Chair.
Steph Stewart describes her music as haunting, post-Appalachian lull married to sweet-and-smoky honky-tonk. Her ethereal twang is accented by the hoppy mandolin picking and bright fiddle melodies of bandmates Omar Ruiz-Lopez (fiddle, faddle, mandolin), Mario Arnez (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Nicholas Vandenberg (upright bass, backing vocals). Together, Steph Stewart and the Boyfriends fuse old Appalachia and top-shelf Americana, delivering a satisfying twist on a familiar sound.
Rooted in memories of climbing trees and dancing to Johnny Cash with her grandfather as a child in North Carolina, Stewart writes about place and the transience of home. Personalities reflect her inspiration: the plight of a coal miner, the defiance of a cross-dressing Victorian cowgirl, the scorned lover. Piercing and personal, her songs linger with a resounding pulse long after they end.